MYNORTHWEST NEWS

DOJ gives Seattle man 9-year sentence: His ‘cyberstalking activities were unparalleled’

Jul 10, 2024, 9:01 AM

cyberstalking...

Illustration of online cyberstalking. (Photo: Thomas Trutschel, Getty Images)

(Photo: Thomas Trutschel, Getty Images)

A Seattle man was sentenced yesterday to nine years in prison for six counts of cyberstalking and an additional charge of conspiracy to engage in cyberstalking.

Sumit Garg, 33, previously worked as a privacy consultant before engaging in a stalking campaign that involved thousands of threatening emails and online messages.

“The cyberstalking activities of this defendant are unparalleled in this district and indeed nationwide. Through thousands of email and text messages, Mr. Garg threatened violence against his victims — including police and prosecutors,” U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman stated. “He attempted to make it appear his victims were the perpetrators of the stalking. Court orders and jail time did not stop him. Federal detention finally stopped him, and this sentence will protect the public for years to come.”

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Garg’s stalking behavior began, according to police, after he sent threats and sexually explicit messages to a woman who used to share an apartment with his wife. This behavior began after the two roommates (his wife and the victim) had a dispute with the rent. Once Garg moved into the apartment with his wife, he “threatened and tormented the former roommate” using personal information he recovered in the home.

The former roommate reported the behavior in April 2020 to police, but Garg and his wife curbed these efforts by planting false police reports that blamed the former roommate. The reports Garg and his wife falsely filed claimed they were victims of harassment, not the other way around.

Garg went on to threaten multiple people in the victim’s life.

“(This included) her uncle who represented her in obtaining a civil protection order, her boyfriend, the Seattle Police Detective who investigated the threats and even the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney who prosecuted Garg for his illegal stalking conduct,” Gorman stated.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) cited his “computer skills” in its statement regarding his sentencing multiple times, claiming he had the ability to mask the threats and stalking so it wouldn’t be traced back to him.

“The stalking campaign also grew increasingly violent, ultimately coming to include gruesome threats of rape, torture and death,” Gorman said. “Over time, Garg’s stalking campaign involved thousands of emails sent from scores of accounts set up for the purpose of stalking.”

Garg was indicted slightly less than a year later in March 2021, but the stalking campaign didn’t end there. He enlisted his wife to send harassing emails to herself and others while he was in custody to make it appear someone else was doing the harassing. She obliged at first, but eventually cooperated with law enforcement.

“In her trial testimony, Garg’s wife said she finally felt free to tell the truth when he was booked on federal charges and would not be returning to their home to abuse her verbally and physically,” DOJ prosecutors stated in a prepared statement. Prosecutors also wanted to make clear that they believed Garg never accepted responsibility for his criminal activity.

More on stalking: Seattle resident charged with stalking Taylor Swift in New York

“While Garg appears to have delighted in his victims’ suffering, he appears to be utterly incapable of empathizing with others,” prosecutors said. “With an apparently insatiable desire to even the score, Garg took a simple rent dispute between roommates, and escalated it into a massive cyberstalking campaign against an ever-growing number of victims, making grotesque and violent threats that are almost impossible to fathom.”

Garg has been in custody at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac since his indictment in 2021.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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DOJ gives Seattle man 9-year sentence: His ‘cyberstalking activities were unparalleled’